A concerning complication associated with deep vein thrombosis is pulmonary embolism.
A pulmonary embolism occurs when a blood vessel in your lung becomes blocked by a blood clot (thrombus) that travels to your lungs from another part of your body, usually your leg.
A pulmonary embolism can be fatal. So, it's important to be on the lookout for signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism and seek medical attention if they occur. Signs and symptoms of a pulmonary embolism include:
- Unexplained sudden onset of shortness of breath
- Chest pain or discomfort that worsens when you take a deep breath or when you cough
- Feeling lightheaded or dizzy, or fainting
- Rapid pulse
- Coughing up blood
A common complication that can occur after deep vein thrombosis is a condition known as postphlebitic syndrome, also called postthrombotic syndrome. This syndrome is used to describe a collection of signs and symptoms, including:
- Swelling of your legs (edema)
- Leg pain
- Skin discoloration
- Skin sores
This syndrome is caused by damage to your veins from the blood clot. This damage reduces blood flow in the affected areas. The symptoms of postphlebitic syndrome may not occur until a few years after the DVT.
Jul. 03, 2014
- Deep vein thrombosis. National Heart, Lung, and Blood Institute. http://www.nhlbi.nih.gov/health/health-topics/topics/dvt/. Accessed April 1, 2014.
- Longo DL, et al. Harrison's Online. 18th ed. New York, N.Y.: The McGraw-Hill Companies; 2012. http://www.accessmedicine.com/resourceTOC.aspx?resourceID=4. Accessed April 2, 2014.
- Focus on blood clots. Vascular Disease Foundation. http://vasculardisease.org/deep-vein-thrombosis-venous-disease/ (http://vasculardisease.org/flyers/focus-on-blood-clots-flyer.pdf). Accessed April 1, 2014.
- DVT/PE Facts. Centers for Disease Control and Prevention. http://www.cdc.gov/ncbddd/dvt/facts.html. Accessed April 5, 2014.
- Xarelto (prescribing information). Titusville, N.J.: Janssen Pharmaceuticals Inc. 2011. http://www.xarelto.com. Accessed April 1, 2014.
- Lip GY, et al. Treatment of lower extremity deep vein thrombosis. http://www.uptodate.com/home. Accessed April 2, 2014.
- McBane RD (expert opinion). Mayo Clinic, Rochester, Minn. April 24, 2014.
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